It’s been a mixed week for cyclists, but let’s start with the good news shall we? Or at least the reasons-to-be-optimistic story, which was the widely disseminated post and video by Mark Wagenbuur, How the Dutch got their cycling infratructure over on A View from the Cycle Path
In it, Mark picks apart the idea of Dutch exceptionalism – that they have always had bike paths and have always cycled – and showed how they too faced an increasingly car-centric future back in the sixties and seventies before a combination of mass protests and the fuel crisis led to the Dutch choosing another path. As Mark points out, there are many parallels with the situation today in the UK, giving grounds for some hope that, with time (it took a decade of protests in the Netherlands) we too might be able to turn the supertanker of policy around. And, in case you weren’t up to speed with just what that cycling infrastructure consisted of, Naturally Cycling picks up on an excellent little video on an ‘all ways green’ crossing in Grongingen, while War on the Motorist gives us a nice meditation on late summer cycling on the Netherlands’ longest dedicated bike bridge.
Meanwhile, back on this side of the North Sea, there are signs that the deaths and injuries to cyclists are fuelling a growing of anger at the people ultimately responsible. Going Going Bike reports that the family of Eilidh Cairns – who died when she got trapped under the wheels of a tipper truck – are asking for the inquest verdict of accidental death to be quashed and a proper investigation made into the wider issues. And following the death of London student Min Joo Lee at Kings Cross, Dave Hill’s London blog for the Guardian reports that William Perrin of the King’s Cross Environment blog is seeking a corporate manslaughter charge against Transport for London for failing to make improvements to the junction in question to make it safer for both pedestrians and cyclists. You can follow his progress at the Kings Cross Environment site which, crucially, is wider than just a cycling site. A sign, perhaps, that anger at the UK’s car-centric roads is spreading? It’s not just Kings Cross either – Cyclists in the City proposes a tour of London’s 10 most dangerous junctions on the 12th of November to expose just what cyclists have to put up with in the capital. And it goes wider than London, too. The Cottenham Cyclist unpicks an accident waiting to happen – although fortunately not actually happening – when the natural impatience of a 12-year-old meets the exercise in frustration that is a typical UK toucan crossing. While in Horsham, As Easy as Riding a Bike – who has also been running a useful series of posts comparing and contrasting typical UK infrastructure with examples from the Netherlands – reports five collisions between bikes and cars in just two weeks in Horsham. Lest we get too carried away with the idea that there’s a groundswell of support for all vulnerable road users, this, depressingly, leads to a call in the local paper for a crackdown on dangerous cycling…
One of the strengths of bike blogging world has been the forensic attention some bloggers bring to unpicking the details behind the stories which newspapers barely even cover. For example, Cycalogical has been looking at the speech Peter Hendy, commissioner of Transport for London and a cyclist himself, gave to the CILT at the launch of its Cycling information resource The Hub while in Newcastle, Kats Dekker is unpicking the latest DfT guidance on shared space in her own inimitable style. War Against the Motorist has been analysing BBC expenses claims (no really, it’s relevant!) while Cycle of Futility has been doing the same for Transport for London. And if numbers are what float your boat, geographer Jim Gleeson of Drawing Rings has been looking at cycling trends around Kings Cross – showing an emphatic rise in cycling both in absolute and relative terms, despite the hostile environment. The same author, writing on the London Transport Data site shows that – at least up until the last census, the city’s ‘cycling revolution’ is largely confined to inner London. This gets picked up in turn by Vole O’Speed (say it quickly and it makes more sense) who in a long but entirely worth it post manages to tie together this, the ‘Biking Borough of Brent’, Peter Hendy’s speech, the CEoGB’s tour of Assen and, of course, Mark Wagenbuur’s excellent video, bringing us back more or less to where we started.
If that’ all too depressing for you on a Sunday teatime, we’ll leave you with a spot of cycle chic – from Sheffield Cycle Chic, where one of her shots has been turned into art, and from Edinburgh where a pair of kids demonstrate that you’re never to young to co-ordinate your outfit with your bike while MCRCycling considers the best sort of bike to ride in a suit.
And finally, in a story that is cheering and depressing in equal measure, Wiggle prepares to float, with its CEO declaring cycling is the new golf . If, as this detailed and thoughtful piece on Philip Hammond suggests, transport decisions are made solely on economic grounds, then Wiggle’s success should surely bode well but, even so, golf? Perhaps the fact that, as ibikelondon reports, GQ has gone all cycle chic is more encouraging.